Following a weekend in which Bay Area parks and beaches were overrun with residents stir-crazy from sheltering in place, a coalition of 49 local public agencies, nonprofits and Indigenous Tribes released guidelines for safe outdoor recreation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Already, local governments have shuttered some beaches and parks – or at least their parking areas – while recognizing the importance of allowing people to get outside for fresh air and exercise while they largely stay inside their homes.
“We recognize the great need and desire for access to outdoor spaces during a period of sheltering at home,” says Annie Burke, the coalition’s executive director. “At the same time, if people don’t use the spaces safely, then the parks cannot remain open. We hope the public will embrace these guidelines so that we – and the parks we love – remain safe and protected.”
GO SOLO OR WITH YOUR FAMILY UNIT
• Going outdoors is for your health, not for socializing.
• Stay 6 feet away from people you do not live with. Yield to others and maintain a safe distance.
• Choose less frequented parks and trails. Check park agency websites for recommendations.
• Do not park in a crowded parking lot or use a crowded trail.
• Do not hold social gatherings at parks or anywhere.
STAY CLOSE TO HOME AND AVOID CROWDS
• Look for nearby nature to enjoy in your own neighborhood; this is not a time to explore.
• Some parking lots are closed; don’t drive and you’ll get more exercise.
• Visit nature virtually; there are many options online.
STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY
• Do not visit parks that have been closed by local authorities.
• Many restrooms and facilities are closed; plan ahead before leaving home.
• Shorten your visit to give others the opportunity for a safe experience.
• Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick.
• Leave no trace. Garbage collection is limited; pack out what you pack in.
Suggested online resources for information about parks and usage status:
East Bay Regional Park District
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
California State Parks
Marin County Parks
San Mateo County Parks
San Francisco Recreation and Parks
NPS Golden Gate National Recreation Area
NPS Point Reyes National Seashore
Santa Clara County Parks
Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
Sonoma County Parks